The past few weeks, I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night with a start. I look around, confused by my surroundings; I walk to the bathroom only to bump into walls and trip on unfamiliar obstacles.
Only one thing can explain these events: I’ve recently moved.
For me, moving is one of the most underappreciated aspects of life. While growing up, my family pretty much stayed in one geographical area-my dad wanted to be sure I had a stable growing-up experience, while my mom was restless and wanted to explore different locales in which to live. I seem to have inherited this wanderlust, much to the confusion and surprise of most people.
It’s not just heading to different cities or states that interests me, though. I even enjoy an in-town move, much like the one I just completed. Perhaps it’s my overly organized personality that enjoys packing, getting rid of extra stuff, and then unpacking in a new place full of nooks and crannies that I need to figure out how best to utilize. Maybe it’s the fact that the first cleaning of a new home can actually be fun, since it’s devoid of impediments like furniture or stacks of paper. Certainly, no one can deny the joy of heading to Ventura for a day of shopping for kitchen supplies and bathroom necessities at Target.
Sadly, unlike a yawn or the common cold, this excitement is not contagious. So when my girlfriend, Jackie, and I decided to get a place of our own, thus necessitating a move, my glee was matched equally by her glum.
“How exciting is this, Jackie? We get to decide where to put our dishes in the kitchen cabinets!”
“Um, honey, I love you, but that is decidedly not exciting.”
Not surprisingly, then, I was tasked with household organization, while Jackie did other important things, like figuring out if we can pilfer wireless Internet.
Things were humming along nicely-me with my organized kitchen, Jackie with her Internet access-until we returned to our old apartment to give back the keys and collect the security deposit. That’s when I started crying. Hard.
Despite my elation at the process of moving, I hadn’t conceptualized what it meant to leave a situation with a roommate and the cushion for our relationship that it afforded. Now, with it just being Jackie and me, there was a lot of added pressure that I failed to recognize when happily signing the new lease. Don’t get me wrong-I thought about the ramifications of it being just the two of us; we didn’t enter into this decision lightly. But what I failed to prepare for was the feeling of loss that a huge chapter of my life was over, and the overwhelming sense of that chapter needing to be mourned.
And while I was crying, Jackie was panicking. What the hell were we thinking? What if we broke up? What would happen to the lease, our new home, our (now) shared furniture and dishes? We’re still in our twenties, with so much more life to experience; what kind of audacious kids agree that they’re going to be in love and together for another full year?
Naturally, our musings on our emotions quickly escalated into a fight. For a couple whose three-plus years together have seen only a handful of arguments, we were in fairly unfamiliar territory, what with our new house as the setting and a disagreement as the drama.
Ultimately, we came to the obvious conclusion that we should take this year, like any other, day by day. There will always be issues-like most people, for example, we worry about money and worry that worrying about money will upset our relationship-but the idea, I think, is not to let the issues become insurmountable. Like every other couple I know, Jackie and I started dating because we liked each other’s company. That’s why we’re still a couple, and that’s why we decided to move in together.
But if, for whatever reason, that isn’t enough, I’ll rest in the fact that we’ve got some sweet new digs. And free Internet to boot.